Seven Keys to Protecting and Welcoming Refugees and Newcomers: A vision for Canada

From the Canadian Council for Refugees.
Traditionally a leader in welcoming refugees and other newcomers, Canada can and must renew its efforts to protect their rights. This means acting in seven key areas:

1. Making status in Canada secure
This means:

  • Making pathways to permanent residence open to all, including:
    • migrant workers
    • persons who have been trafficked
  • Permanent residence for sponsored spouses is unconditional
  • Access to Canadian citizenship

2. A broad, inclusive and effective refugee resettlement program
This means:

  • The government resettles a significant number of refugees to Canada
    • particularly the most vulnerable
    • from around the globe
    • without discrimination
  • The private sponsorship of refugees is quick and simple, and respects the principles of additionality and naming

3. Access to protection
This means:

  • Opportunities for refugees to reach Canada
  • A fair refugee determination system, without discrimination
  • Effective protection for trafficked persons without permanent status
  • Adequate support for refugee claimants and trafficked persons
  • Adequate protection in the immigration system for women in situations of violence

4. Speedy family reunification
This means:

  • Express entry family reunification
    • where children are reunited with their parents in 6 months or less
  • The definition of family member is broad and inclusive
    • reinstating the previous age of dependants
    • eliminating the ‘excluded family member’ rule
  • Government makes family reunification a top priority

5. Rights and dignity for all
This means:

  • Access to essential healthcare
  • Access to Canada’s social safety net
  • Protection from exploitation for migrant workers
  • Immigration detention is reduced to a minimum
    • respect for non-citizens’ fundamental right to liberty

6. Accountable immigration enforcement
This means:

  • An independent and effective complaints and monitoring mechanism oversees Canada’s border agency (CBSA)

7. Welcoming communities
This means:

  • By words and actions, governments and civil society show they
    are proud to protect refugees
  • Governments and civil society honour and celebrate the
    contributions of newcomers
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